Men are simple.
Ok, stick with me. The average human experiences the following emotions. (There are more, of course, but I’ll spare you the ridiculously long list and stick to the headliners.)
Men are simple in that, while their emotions are powerful and no less real than our own, the color spectrum with which they paint is, well, less psychotic than ours. Which brings me to my main point for today, which is the difference to women between being angry and being annoyed.
CARTER (my husband): Ok, so I know we said we’d talk about it. But I invited a bunch of people over for dinner tonight.
CARTER: Babe? Is that ok?
ME: Oh, sure. It’s fine. (Note: To all of you men out there, it is never fine. I repeat: it is NEVER fine.)
CARTER: Ok. I feel like you’re mad at me.
ME: No. I’m not mad.
CARTER: Are you sure? You’re white-knuckling the steering wheel right now and the little vein in your temple is throbbing.
ME: I’m not mad.
CARTER: Oh, good-
ME: I’m just annoyed. (DANGER! DANGER! DANGER, Junior Birdman! )
CARTER: O….K….. I just feel like there’s not much of a difference.
ME: There’s a huge difference, Carter. If I were angry, would I be able to control the volume of my voice like I’m doing now?
CARTER: Um… well… you’re not really controlling it right now as it is.
ME: Yes I am! I am perfectly controlled! I’m not angry. I’m annoyed! I’m annoyed that I work all day and that all I want to do is come home and put on my pajamas and make dinner and watch a movie with you! I’m annoyed that you go ahead and invite 8 people over for dinner without telling me! What are we going to feed them, babe? Hmm? What are we going to feed them? I only bought enough food this week for meals for the two of us! So now we have to turn around and go to the grocery story so that I can buy food to cook for all of these people that I hadn’t planned on coming! So what do you propose we feed them? Hmmm?
CARTER: I don’t know. Maybe you could do that lemon-roasted chicken you make.
CARTER: That doesn’t take too long, does it?
ME: About two hours, if you count the prep and baking time together.
CARTER: Oh. Well they’re gonna be at the apartment in like 45 minutes.
ME: [Reall stabby silence]
ME: [face beginning to twitch uncontrollably]
CARTER: It’s fine. We’ll just order a pizza. We have 2 free pizzas from Papa John’s. Problem solved!
ME: But it’s not solved!
CARTER: Yes it is. I literally just solved it.
ME: No! [wailing now] I can’t have people over for dinner and feed them Papa John’s after you told them I was cooking! They’ll think I’m a failure! You never think of my feelings! You never consider what I want in life! You’re horrible and you don't love me!
CARTER: Is this really about the people coming over? Because it’s fine.
ME: No, you’re wrong!
CARTER: Ok, I’ll call them and tell them not to come, then.
ME: NO!!!! You can’t! That’s even worse! Then they’ll think, not only that I’m a horrible wife/terrible human being, but that you’re a rude piece of crap! Which reflects badly on me!
FOR THE WIN.
It’s not his fault, really. Carter’s mother is an incredibly articulate woman, meaning that whenever she was feeling something, she probably articulated it very clearly to the boys so that they could scurry to make amends before Defcon 1 happened. Not so much in my family. We are not a terribly articulate lot of women when we are “feeling” things or on our “lady-time” or when "Oprah’s on." This means that my poor, saint of a father has had to learn the warning signs by trial by fire. Because let’s face it – we all know that when we say we’re “annoyed,” we really mean that we are 8 seconds away from clawing at you violently, breaking everything you love, and letting the dog use your open maw as a water dish.
I’ve been told by literally a billion people that the secret to a long and happy marriage is good communication. And I think they’re probably right. My parents don’t always communicate, like when my mom is “annoyed” or they are “out of coffee,” but they make up for it by over-communicating in other areas, so the balance is struck. I need to be better.
For example, the next time I’m feeling “annoyed,” I’ll should just come out and admit that, “No, Carter. I am angry. I’m angry that you ate salt and vinegar Pringles in bed last night while I was asleep and got crumbs in my hair and so now I have to shower even though I’m running late so that I don’t smell like a bag of chips.”
Or the next time I’m feeling particularly “frustrated,” I’ll need to have the balls to say, “It’s just a little baffling to me that you never have an opinion on what you want me to make for dinner until I’ve already got it in the over and then all of a sudden you’re bursting with contrary ideas. Maybe I’ll put myself in the oven! Would you like that, babe? Would you? And by the way, NO ONE pronounces it “Por-shuh.” Just say “Porsh” like the rest of us Americans!”
Carter, like my father, is a saint and I don’t deserve him. Because I, like the rest of the women in my family, tend to be a raging crazy-lady when I am:
b) under-slept (???)
c) completely wrong but in a position where I’ve had such a bad week that admitting I’m wrong would literally kill me so I’m going to argue this point until I am literally blue in the face and Carter has murdered me
d) not caught up on Game of Thrones
But he’s learning. Now, Carter will just ask, “Are you beating this dead horse and insisting you’re right just because you need to be right at this particular moment even though you know you’re wrong and that I’m actually right here? But that because of your hormones or whatever you can’t admit that I’m right and you’re wrong so you will literally argue until one of us has bludgeoned the other repeatedly with a spatula? Am I getting warmer?” And then I’ll imperceptibly nod. And he’ll give. Because he’s a saint like that.
And because he doesn’t want to have to smack me repeatedly with a flip-flop to ward me off as I come at him with the blender. (Because he’s a gentleman.)
What’s the lesson here?
I don’t know that there is one other than choose your mate wisely so that even if you are a ridiculously irrational person, they will still love you.
Also, I should not be allowed near kitchen appliances when angry. Or annoyed.
Happy Wednesday, y'all!